The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter 36 | Summary



Mr. Pickwick rents a house for himself and his friends, inviting Mr. and Mrs. Dowler to stay with them. One night, Pickwick finds a manuscript titled "The True Legend of the Prince Bladud," which contains various stories about the founding of Bath. That same night, Mrs. Dowler is out at a party and Mr. Dowler falls asleep waiting for her. When no one lets her in, Mrs. Dowler orders the coachman to bang on the door, which awakens Mr. Winkle. Mr. Winkle answers the door in his nightshirt, but allows the door to slam shut behind him. Mr. Dowler awakens and thinks Mr. Winkle and his wife are running off together. Mr. Winkle hides from Dowler and plans to flee in the morning.


In case the reader thought the Pickwickians had settled into a pattern of normal interactions with women, Dickens brings back their silly misadventures with a vengeance. Once again, Mr. Winkle is the man under suspicion who is guilty of nothing.

Winkle the sportsman faces most of the jealous men in this book: Dr. Slammer (Chapter 2), Mr. Pott (Chapter 13), and now Mr. Dowler. This is unexpected, since these jealous men often suggest duels and a sportsman might be expected to be a good shot. Of course, as the reader knows, Mr. Winkle is a terrible shot and no true sportsman; he is also a coward. All the better for him, since by the 1830s a man might have to flee the country if he killed someone in a duel. In fact, dueling as a practice would be outlawed in England by the 1850s.

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